So you say taxes are good? Very well, let’s explore that.
Something cannot be both true and false at the same time. In ethics, something cannot be both good and evil. This violates the indisputable law of non-contraction (indisputable because you cannot dispute it without assuming it to be true).
If taxation is morally good (not morally evil), then everyone ought to be doing it. I ought to get some people together to sign a document, and use said document as authority to begin confiscating property from those in the geographical area we define. This will be “good” and legitimate and even necessary, because the same is said of the State (the U.S. federal government, for example).
But what’s this? The U.S. federal government prohibits me from doing so? When I do it, it is wrong and punishable? This means that taxation is both good and evil, both necessary and superfluous, both permissible and impermissible. In other words, it is self-contradictory, invalid and illegitimate.
I came across this brief news article in the Salt Lake Tribune the other day, which made me literally laugh out loud:
The head of a Utah County marketing business has been ordered to pay $241,000 in restitution for stealing his employees’ payroll taxes.
Between 2005 and 2009, Stephen Zimmerman, 58, did not pay the state taxes his family and employees owed, and he covered up the crime by submitting false tax forms, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Zimmerman, who was the owner of Professional Marketing Data Services Inc., was sentenced earlier this month to up to five years in prison on charges of unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and filing false tax documents.
But 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy suspended that prison term, providing Zimmerman completes probation and pays back the $241,000 he owes.
Allow me to explain why I laughed at this. Read more >>
I know I’m a little late in getting to this, but I was intrigued by KSL’s Sunday edition discussion from December 19, 2010. Among the topics discussed was the recent declaration by a federal judge that the individual mandate in the new health care bill is unconstitutional. The judge asserted that forcing citizens to purchase a product or service is not among the powers delegated to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution.
This is, of course, absolute and utter hogwash. I quote below from Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution:
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…
This is followed by a lengthy list of all the goodies Congress is given power to spend our money on. And that’s just the federal government. I won’t even attempt to abridge the lengthy and complicated section of Utah’s constitution that gives taxing power to the state.
What is taxation but forcing you to purchase products and services? I never consented to paying for the services of Alcoholic Beverage Control or state-sponsored sporting events or preserving the capitol building or the state fair or the education of other people’s children. These are all products and services that the state is forcing me to purchase. You may want to spend your money on these things, and that’s all well and fine, but I don’t. You may want to peruse the state budget sometime to see how many millions of our dollars are being spent on stuff you don’t want to spend your money on.
It’s for the greater good, you may argue. Without the services provided by the state, we would descend into anarchy and chaos. We’ve got to have police and firemen and highways and courts. Our legislators aren’t going to work for free. We’ve got to have some taxation, for the essentials. If we didn’t have taxes, how would we have all these essential services?
Um, the same way we have them now: by paying someone to do them for us. It’s not rocket science. If these services are so essential, why is the assumption made that we won’t pay for them unless we are forced to? That makes zero sense. I for one would be happy to pay for police services, and I would shop around for a police service that has a decent response time, not like the officers who showed up on bicycles 20 minutes after I called them to report someone trying to break into my house and threatening my family. A private police force would have an incentive to maximize efficiency while lowering costs, because if they don’t, I take my business to a competing firm.
This is just one of the examples of stateless alternatives to the so-called essentials provided by the state that you’ll learn about in Murray Rothbard’s For a New Liberty: the Libertarian Manifesto, my book recommendation for the week. I cannot recommend this book enough to those who want to learn more about how liberty can work. But it doesn’t just work. It’s also the only morally justifiable political philosophy.
Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
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